By on July 15, 2010


On the back of the news from the NHTSA that they can’t find evidence of Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA) electronic gremlins, you’d think that Toyota would be feeling smug about themselves. You’d want to shout this from the rooftops, wouldn’t you? “It’s the drivers, stupid!” If I were Akio Toyoda, I’d show this to Bob Lutz, a bloke who took great delight in knocking Toyota throughout this affair. But what was Toyota’s European division’s reaction to all of this? Humility.

Just-Auto (sub) reports that Toyota Europe declined to comment about NHTSA’s comment yesterday. They decided to hold out until the final results (which could take a few months more) are available for public consumption. “We prefer not to make any comment before we see (the) final results,” said a TME spokesperson in Belgium (where Toyota’s European division is based), “We hope it (results) will be (available) this year – they are speaking in terms of months.” The spokesperson then admitted some Toyota failings: “There have been a few issues that been established such as these sticky pedals and ABS control software that had to be put right although we are not convinced this is an issue…beyond that we do not see any problem with these vehicles.” Is this a sign that this whole affair is causing Toyota’s trademark humility to come back? Or did Toyota’s press office brief the spokesperson very, very carefully? Either way it doesn’t matter. As far as Europe goes, the story hadn’t received much traction anyhow. If the NHTSA findings fully exonerates Toyota, they can’t rest. Toyota still have to deal with, cheapening interiors, controlling bean counters, decontented vehicles, a damaged image, a leaner GM, a rising Hyundai, a more dynamic Ford, bland styling, shrinking market share, large incentives, more competitive market place and stodgy management. Come on, Toyota! Continuous improvement never stops, isn’t that what you say…?

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12 Comments on “At Toyota Europe, Silence Is Golden...”


  • avatar
    NN

    I hope that Ray Lahood and all the shameless media whores who gave pathetic, crying testimonies at the hearings are all castigated on television to the same extent, if not worse, that Toyota was. Lahood should be tarred and feathered. This was a huge media blowup and if it all proves to be a sham then it will be a disgrace for NHTSA, the American government and the citizens for putting up with it all.

    So who was really behind it? The union? Bankrupt GM and Chrysler? The whole thing stunk to me from the beginning.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Every single individual who participated/spoke at that farce of a congressional hearing who verbally attacked Toyota’s competence and morality without a shred of real evidence should be made to make just as public an apology to the company and its employees.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    The local news in Indy reported last night that TOYOTA had completed its investigation and then stated the findings as if they were determined by TOYOTA…..not one mention of the NHTSA in the report…..WTF?

  • avatar
    jimmy2x

    As I recall, there were plenty of comments on this site castigating Toyota. Any of those folks still here?

  • avatar
    golf4me

    Funny, Toyota admitted there was a problem and even went so far as to blame it on a single component supplier. AND came up with a “fix” for it? Also, the report said most, not all. There is a difference, but I guess Totally Toyota Apologist Company doesn’t care. BTW, I guess the bad valve springs, rotting frames, etc. are driver error too?

    BTW, I love the site, but you guys need to at least disguise your bias at least a little bit like others do. It’s like reading the last page of a book or the last 5 min if a movie here!

    • 0 avatar
      moedaman

      That actually would be a good question the ask the NHTSA. After all they’re the ones who said it was human error. Maybe Toyota was playing it safe and decided to replace parts before a full examination of the data? While there are plenty of people on this site who like and drive Toyotas, the company does get a fair amount of knocks on this site also. So I feel your claims of pro-Toyota bias are unfounded.

  • avatar
    AaronH

    Im sure that Toyota does not want to upset the taxtaker criminals in DC…These murdering political maggots will go after them again if they are critical of the thieving-socialist regime.

    What was Toyota to do when the Legal Mafia (“Government”, to the sheeple) attacked them? they could not state that there was NOT a problem…The MSM would have attacked them and the little public school sheeple would not have believed Toyota. It is best to admit a problem and say it is solved in this world of political tyranny.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I agree, Toyota doesn’t get a full pardon. Let’s not forget TTAC dissecting the pedals in question and finding a questionable design, Toyota’s “My dog ate all the chip readers in the country” excuse, and the fact that some years and models of Toyotas did have abnormally high reports of UA–but so did some other brands. But yes, there was a lot of over-reacting and grand-standing by our friends in Washington. What a surprise.

  • avatar
    Tricky Dicky

    A bit of news which seems to have slipped under the radar in the last week, is that Toyota have had to close a complete production line in their first European plant at Burnaston in the UK (despite them being the ones who will get to produce the Hybrid Auris – or EuroCorolla). Oh yes, lots of people made redundant (albeit on a voluntary basis).

    Toyota’s European brand has taken a massive hit due to the US publicity and is not so integrated into European markets as they have achieved in the US. With much stronger competition in Europe Toyota’s market share has been much more vulnerable. I think it is fair to say that Secretary LaHood’s irresponsible opinions have had an (indirect) affect on worker’s livelihoods….
    …. as have bland styling, ill-defined brand values, limited new product, lack of meaningful commercial vehicle range and an apparent unwillingness to make meaningful use of European suppliers and innovations (all under Big-T’s control), there are grey clouds over the European operations.

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      I knew that Toyota UK were making some people redundant, but I didn’t realise they shut a shift down.

      As for the rest of your statement, too true. However, There is a silver lining. As Toyota isn’t that exposed to the European market, it has less to lose. As Bertel pointed out today, the European market is flattening out to a much lower level. And with uncertainty about countries’ debt levels, an implosion might happen. The people most at risk of a crater in the European market are Ford, Volkswagen, Renault and PSA. Much like how VW got away relatively unscathed during the carmaggeddon in the United States.


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